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Council fine-tunes community grants funding system

NEWS RELEASE

14 June 2001

Council fine-tunes community grants funding system

The process for funding Auckland City Council grants for community groups is to be improved following a major review for the first funding round of the new Community Group Assistance Policy.

The improvements were identified with the help of an external reference group with extensive knowledge in the voluntary sector and funding issues.

Improvements in general communication with community groups, assessment of applications, the evaluation process more infrastructure support to groups and a rescheduling of the timing of applications are the main changes.

The chairperson of the Council’s Community Development Committee, Councillor Penny Sefuiva, said it was pleasing that after such a major review there was nothing in the basic policy and criteria and very little in the structure of the new grants system that needed to be changed.

“There are some minor adjustments to some areas, but in general the system is working well,” she said, “we need to work more effectively at communicating to our community groups through channels familiar to them. We also need to make sure that the paperwork required for grant applications is easy to understand.”
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Councillor Sefuiva said council staff will develop a strategic framework and criteria for reviewing current Funding Agreements and identifying community groups who could benefit from longer term funding arrangements.

She said the committee endorsed the opportunities identified in the report for improved collaboration with other funders, such as the ASB Trust.

The Council will move its funding rounds to opening in early December and closing in late February. This will allow better co-ordination between the Council’s grants and other funders such as the Hillary Commission and Creative NZ.

In addition, staff are to investigate a proposal to introduce a “mini grant” scheme for small project grants in September 2001.

Councillor Sefuiva said the review demonstrated a need amongst groups for more “capacity building” – strengthening a group’s infrastructure – to make them more effective.

A specific fund of $50,000 has been “ring-fenced” for strengthening community arts groups. This money was transferred from another category related to specific projects for arts, recreational and sporting groups.

Two areas which are to be amended are that applicants from community groups in the Hauraki Gulf Islands will only be considered if they can demonstrate that the beneficiaries of their activities include residents on the isthmus, or that their activities have city-wide significance.

Also, collaboration – involvement or support with another group – is no longer a criteria for capacity-building for operational grants. However it will be considered when assessing applications.

Community groups will receive information about the changes in the next few weeks.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
- Councillor Penny Sefuiva, tel: 360 2711 or 307 7576
- Raewyn Stone, policy analyst, community development planning, Auckland City, tel: 307 6007.

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